Friday, February 26, 2016

We Fight To Hold On, & We Fight To Let Go.

Theme song for this week: James Bay - Let It Go.

Dear Universe,

I surrender. I give up. You win. Burn away all that I am, so that you may build me anew. No more avoiding, no more procrastinating, no more bargaining. For I grow weary of these things that come & go, the things that bind me to the superficiality of life. Everything is impermanent, I acknowledge that. Everything is in perfect order, I acknowledge that. But acknowledging is not the same as accepting & experiencing.

The truth is, I am afraid. My ego mind is fighting to stay alive. It scares me tremendously. It is not easy to remove a layer which has been falsely protecting me all my life. & the deeper the root, the tougher it is to remove. Oftentimes, my hands tremble. My chest feels helplessly tight, yet at the same time there is expansion; tiny, tiny cracks of expansion.

All these years, I acknowledged my attachments towards the ones I hold dear to me. But this is the first time I see clearly that it is nothing to do with them but everything to do with me. I fear abandonment. I fear being not good enough. I fear the unknown.
The Not Knowing Is The Hardest Part

The unknown is both beautiful & scary at the same time.

Everything happened as they said it would, right down to the T:
The Phases Of The Twin Flame Relationship
Twin Flame Separation Cycle

I know. I'm supposed to be a yogi. I'm not supposed to believe in these things. But the accuracy of it all is too much to ignore.

This is the first time I am really looking at my inner child in the eyeballs. It is not pretty. I long for the peaceful solitude I once had with myself, yet I crave the distraction that social interaction & 'busy-ness' provide. Though it has only been a few days, the introvert in me is tired of all this interaction. When I am alone however, more often than not I fear the silence. Last night I lay awake for hours just observing my breath & the space in my chest.

I fear the silence in which my mind goes into overdrive. 'What if I end up alone?' 'What could I have done in a different way?' 'Why is all this happening?' 'Am I not good enough?'

My ego does not want to let go & trust in the Universe. It is throwing a tantrum, playing the victim but at the same time refusing to let go of its perceived identity as 'director' of this show. 'NO! It must happen according to how I want it to be, because this is MY life, MY rules! How dare the Universe do this to me!' 'NO! We both put in so much effort, why is it not going the way we planned it to be??? This is so unfair!' 'I myself, & no one else, am in control of my own life! Not even God, not even the Universe!' 'Why me???'

I was once asked, 'The difference is I don't need nobody to be complete. & you do. Is this a woman thing?'

I could not answer. I could not explain how I knew I was complete in myself, yet I needed that intimate connection. Until I came across this yesterday:
I Don't Need You To Complete Me But I Still Need You

Maybe it is a woman thing, this wanting to share with that one special person. Somehow every experience, every new discovery is not the same when not shared. I've never connected on that level with anyone else, someone who is willing, or even able to understand what the hell I'm talking about, & doesn't judge me.

Another thing is as clear as day; the deepest root of my fear of abandonment - the Mother Wound. I never knew that it affected me that much. I used to take it lightly. Only now do I realize how badly that wound has scarred me. I know that again, it has nothing to do with my mother, & everything to do with me.
Why It's Crucial For Women To Heal The Mother Wound

Sometimes I curse this gift of awareness, yet at other times I feel extremely blessed. I refuse to fall into the same old patterns I am used to. I refuse to distract myself with another potential suitor only to repeat the same bullshit pattern that I'm so familiar with. Once again, the unknown is scary. Yet it is better to venture into the unknown than sell myself short.

Yes, take everything & burn it in the bloody bonfire. I refuse to depend on anyone or anything. I refuse to revert to external substances to blur the truth. I refuse to use a bandage or crutch. By hook or by crook, I will get through this.

No, I have not given up on us. I have never. Even though sometimes my fear got the better of me & I uttered harsh words in the spur of the moment. I had to remove myself because I was giving more bullshit than love. & it became a vicious cycle. I don't want to hurt him, me, us. What we have is so beautiful. Although it seems impossible now, I look forward to the day we will be happy, whether we end up together or with other people. When we can be BFFs again.

Music definitely helps heal the soul though. I just found another version of Let It Go which features one of my all-time favourite performers, Ed Sheeran:
James Bay & Ed Sheeran - Let It Go

Yours truly,
Ee Lee.

Friday, February 19, 2016

To Think That You Know What Is Best For Another Person Is To Be Out Of Your Business.

I always try to make it a priority not to force my opinions & ideas of life onto others. I realize I've always struggled with this, especially those who I hold dear to my heart. :(

I really don't mean to. For me it is really tough to forgo the urge to 'help'. I only understood this a few years ago, that 'help' can do more damage than good. & that in reality, by forcing my 'help' onto others, it only back-fires & creates shit for me & the other person.

First of all, it takes away my peace when I constantly worry & ponder about another person's issues. I used to have the 'your problem is my problem' mentality. Which didn't do anybody any good. I would not be able to function well in other areas of my life because I was bogged down by, ironically, someone else's problems. I did not know where to draw the line between compassion & idiot compassion.

Secondly, it is not my job to 'help' or 'heal' others. I stopped looking at myself as a 'healer in disguise'. Thinking of oneself as a healer creates ego & anyway, who the hell am I to dictate or assume someone's journey in life? I cannot fully know their whole story, from birth to the present, no matter how close I am to them, & no matter how much they reveal about themselves to me. Because at the end of the day, there are some things in life which even the other person does not know about themselves. So how to express something that even we don't know? Heck, even I myself don't fully know all my childhood traumas, past hurts, weaknesses, etc, so how the hell am I supposed to know what is good for another???

With this in mind, we must also apply the concept of not judging any event, because 'something good may come out of something bad, & something bad may come out of something good'. We have no way of telling the final outcome of things.

Once there were two mortal enemies. One day, one of them tripped & fell down, & the other immediately came & gave him a hard kick on the bum. Everyone started scolding the man for this action, 'You monster, why would you kick a man when he's down!?!' However, when the first man stood up, he came & shook the other man's hand, saying, 'Thank you! I have been suffering from chronic back ache for years now, & somehow after you kicked me, the pain is now gone! Thank you!'

So you see, dear readers, how to say what is good & what is bad? Even for myself, I never in a million years would have guessed I would one day be teaching yoga. & many series of 'unfortunate' events led me to where I am right now. So, I don't expect to fully understand the journey of others.

From as far as I can remember, I could always read others. Sure enough, sometimes I misread them, & this is when I come from a place of insecurity & fear. Yes, I will be the first to gladly admit that I am not perfect. I have many weaknesses that may not be apparent to others. Which is also another reason I don't identify with the 'healer' label anymore. Everyone in this world needs healing. We are all here to help each other, maybe some a bit more than others, but it is help, nonetheless. To label oneself as a 'healer' only creates ego, whether we are aware of it or not. 'Yes, I helped this person become who they are today,' 'If it were not for me, they would have not have gotten this far.' & all that kind of self-talk. It does happen, even in minuscule proportions. I, too, have my own set of 'stuff' to heal. So yes, many a times my own weaknesses have come in between me & another person. To really understand & see a situation as it is, is to have the ability to put aside one's self-importance. Instead of taking it personally & jumping to conclusions, when we put aside our selfishness, then we can look clearly at the other person. & I am not always in this position. Most times I have my own bullshit to work through too.

 But how far do we take this idea? Do we just completely leave the other person to their own devices? When do we step in to help?

This is a very grey area. We cannot say for certain that help should be given at so-&-so time, & not given at another time. Sometimes we help, but then we are considered as interfering, & not allowing the other the freedom to do as they please. The other feels controlled & pressured to behave a certain way, they feel like they have no freedom to think for themselves & make their own decisions. At other times, we leave them to do as they please, & after all is said & done, if the outcome is not as desired, they turn around & say, 'Why the hell didn't you say something in the first place???'. :(

These two are the unfortunate by-products of the decision either to intervene or not.

I know I have spoken in the past about knowing how to communicate with a person so that they will come to know the truth. Gurumukh-ji likened this to trying to tell somebody to turn behind to look at a signboard behind them: 'You are sitting opposite that person, so you can see what is behind them, but they cannot. If you tell them to turn around, but they don't want to, you can either choose to leave them be, or if you have compassion for them, try different ways to get them to turn around.' Similarly, sometimes we see parts of others which they themselves may not see, no matter how vulgarly apparent these parts are to the rest of the world. So what to do then? 

When you see that this signboard behind the other person is something so important & necessary, yet they refuse to look...what to do then?

This is where our topic for today has come full-circle, dear readers. We have to let go. We have to let go & trust that everything will work out in the end. & I know. Boy, do I know how hard it is to watch someone you truly care about go through what you think is unnecessary suffering. I know how hard it is to feel helpless, & to wish that we could just grab hold of their gotdang head & turn it around for them so that they will see that bloody signboard.

But this is impossible. No matter how good your intentions are, people only see what they want to see. & anyways, maybe there is something else which they are supposed to see, & it just isn't time for them to look at the signboard, no matter how important it is.

We can have the best intentions for others, but at the end of the day, we need to let go of these intentions. We need to learn to have faith in the universe, to trust it to do its thang. & yes, it will be unpleasant. It will be heart-wrenching. But remember to also take your time to centre yourself. Use what is shown to you to reflect on yourself, & how your interpretation of these events reveal your own state of being.

The thing I've learned is, you can only help others when you are strong. Sometimes, if you are strong enough in yourself, you can positively affect those around you without even saying a word. So focus on yourself. Build yourself up. An empty jug cannot fill cups.

Nor can small boobies.

Yes, I have a perverted mind. I need help. Is there a signboard somewhere I am not aware of? Bahahahah!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Is All Yoga Therapeutic?

Recently, the Yoga Alliance came up with a new policy regarding the use of the term 'yoga therapy' (Read about this here).

I'm not sure if this came as a shock or not to me. On one hand, I understand the need for people to know exactly what 'therapy' means & entails. On the other hand, how does one really distinguish between therapeutic & non-therapeutic yoga?

Random rant: As I am writing this, I have come to realize that I hope in the future, all medicine/healings will be looked at holistically, & that yoga will not be regarded as an alternative or complementary form of healing.

Coincidentally, yesterday someone shared a story by Eric Nelson, instructor at NeuroKinetic Therapy, which I deeply resonated with:

I recently treated a patient who had been experiencing headaches for the past few months. She had multiple tests including imaging of her brain, and everything was negative for pathology. While there are many possible causes of headaches, based on her history, I decided to look at her from a movement perspective. Her neck range of motion was significantly limited and while neck flexion was limited and painful, neck extension was limited and non-painful.
My NeuroKinetic Therapy® testing was interesting. I usually find inhibited deep neck flexors in these types of cases, but this time it was the opposite, her suboccipital muscles (neck extensors) were the inhibited muscles. Gentle treatment was performed to the deep neck flexors and upon NKT retesting, the suboccipital muscles were now functioning.
In addition to looking at her neck, I assessed her core and noted that her breathing pattern was inefficient as she had a tendency to hold her breath. To address this issue, we worked on diaphragmatic breathing as well as stabilizing in the 3-month neurodevelopmental pattern.
By the end of the session she reported only a slight improvement with her headache but noted that she felt more centered and relaxed. On the follow up visit a week later she reported that she did not have one headache since her last visit!

Amazing, right! This is my take on the whole phenomenon:

How important it is to look at a condition holistically as opposed to just focusing on the main complaint. With this in mind, imagine how important posture & the breath is! For the most part, I don't agree with the new Yoga Alliance policy on using the word 'therapy' in your job/school/workshop/etc description. Yes, the yoga market is saturated with self-proclaimed teachers & 'experts', that is why the people need 'protection'; but the very purpose of yoga asana is healing. So how to say what is yoga therapy & what is not?

I understand that due to the modernization of yoga, there are people out there who do not take into account the very fundamentals of yoga. In some ways, it has been bastardized so much so that it has become just like any other physical exercise - to just get the body moving, to sweat, to have that 'runner's high', etc.

It is very important to combine both the traditional & modern aspects of yoga. Yes, traditional yogis probably did not know anything about alignment. But is it important & necessary? Of course! What differentiates yoga from other physical exercise? I would say, yoga, done properly, is designed to rid the body of unnecessary dis-ease & to build awareness first on the physical body, then expand this awareness towards other areas of life.

In saying this, all yoga would be therapeutic!

But no, nowadays you see yogis injuring themselves left right & center. Heck, there are even yoga competitions being held! What the hell is a yoga competition anyway??? Might as well call it a contortionist competition instead! It is such a ridiculous exploitation of the word 'yoga'.

I agree 100% with this article written by American Yoga School founder James Brown: The Colossal Failure Of Modern Yoga.

There is so much bullshit going on in the name of yoga, with every Tom Dick & Harry wishing to milk this cash cow in one way or another. & this not only affects the public, but also decent teachers who know their shit. It is very, very hard to undo the side effects & misinterpretation of yoga in students.

Back to the Yoga Alliance policies. I never fully understood how a 200-hour graduate could be deemed qualified enough to conduct a 200-hour teacher training course. There are no rules & regulations as to who is eligible to conduct 200-hour courses. For me, that in itself raises a big question mark as to whether the Yoga Alliance really is interested in the public's welfare. & of course, since conducting teacher training courses are much, much more lucrative than teaching regular classes, why wouldn't people want to start courses? & thus a never-ending self-destructive cycle has begun.

To me, all yoga is therapeutic, if you understand the basic fundamentals of the practice:

1. Your posture affects your breath.
2. Your breath affects your physiological, emotional & mental well-being.
3, Your breath is your teacher.

There is no such thing as 'by the third year of your yoga journey, you must be able to put one leg behind your head'. You may not even need to progress beyond a simple vinyasa sequence for years, unless you want to.

What I'm trying to say is that, yoga is just a tool to get one into optimal state of physical well-being. If you were having a stomach ache, is your mind at peace? Will you be open to listening or contemplating the philosophies of the universe? No! Your mind will only be on the toilet, hahahahah! That being said, different intensities of yoga practices exist to accommodate the different levels of physicalities amongst people. Someone may be naturally more energetic than another, & without expelling this excess energy, he/she may not be able to sit quietly! But aha! Even in the process of 'sweating it all out', one must not lose sight of the main purpose of their yoga practice - to work within one's limitations & not push the body too much.

Yoga is also designed to bring awareness to the physical body, we are learning to cultivate & build our awareness. & what tools do we always have with us? Our physical body & breath! When awareness on the physical body starts building up, then we will naturally expand this awareness to other areas of life too. Then our actions are filled with awareness. & as Osho said, 'awareness is the seed of godliness in you'.

Only when there is awareness, can we start living consciously. Or else, it will be like we are just walking around with a veil over our faces, not knowing what we are doing, just groping about hoping to find our way through. & only through this awareness can we begin to make better choices & decisions in life. Wouldn't you say that yoga is so therapeutic?

Friday, February 5, 2016

Anime Can Be Philosophical Too!

Over the past week, Feveret Human & I have been binge-watching anime, Attack On Titan to be precise. It's my favourite anime to date, even bypassing One Punch Man!

Sure, One Punch Man has its deep moments & awesome random shenanigans, but Attack on Titan pierces much deeper into things - it reminds me how powerful art & media can be. What I really like about Attack on Titan is the internal conversations the characters have with themselves. It opens up a whole different perspective that one might not have considered before.

The show basically revolves around the war between humanity & man-eating Titans. Naturally, the humans formed a large defence team to protect themselves. Through soliloquies, the viewer gets to know the contrasting emotions & experiences that the soldiers have to go through before, during & after battle. How they still need to deal with internal politics within their squads, face the brash opinions of the community, all while struggling to be true to themselves.

At the same time, there are many symbolical messages too. But I'll stop giving away so many spoilers for now! :D

I don't usually enjoy watching action flicks, & avoid them if I can. But despite its goriness, Attack on Titan did a brilliant job in conveying many important life messages.

Some parts really reminded me of the Bhagavad-Gita; the part where the battle has just started & Arjuna is having doubts about why he should go into battle. Because like most of us, he was taught to be peaceful & to not harm others. So he was torn wondering why he has to fight with & kill his fellow men. But Krishna said that everything is eternal. When you kill someone, you only destroy his physical body, you can never destroy his soul (I understand if this concept seems very extreme, dear reader, I myself was so shocked when I first read this that I avoided the Bhagavad-Gita for years!). & if the innocent & righteous did not make a stand & fight against the evils in the world, then the evil will continue their reign & continue harming others. Sometimes war is necessary to stop evil in its tracks.

Life is a big battle. Of course, don't forget that it is also a big candy shop at the same time. Sometimes you have to fight for what you want & what you truly stand for. Even if sometimes two 'wants' present themselves at the same time, you have to decide which is more important to you, or which does the greater good. & the funy thing is, sometimes these two are present in both your options, but in varying degrees. Sometimes people may not only not understand your decisions & actions, but also misinterpret them. Are you willing to risk your reputation to do what you want to do? How badly do you want to fulfil your dreams & your purpose in this lifetime?

What are you fighting for? At the end of the day, even if everybody is against you, what do you want? Even when the chips are down, & the circumstances keep pushing you back; once your mind is still - what do you want? & as long as you are not harming anyone in the process - go chase your dream. Live your life. You only have this one chance.

& be kind. You don't know what internal demons others are battling. Be kind wherever & whenever possible.